Toby Keith Said He Doesn’t Regret Performing At Donald Trump’s Inauguration
Toby Keith said he doesn’t regret performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Though several performers backed out of the January ceremony after they received backlash from their fans, the 55-year-old singer explained why he’s proud he was at the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” the night before the president was sworn in.
“There’s no reason not to do it,” Keith reportedly said on stage at the 2017 Country Radio Seminar. “I know a bunch of people were committed. I know a bunch of people — I’m not naming names — but there’s a bunch of people that I didn’t think would have considered it who were committed, and they backed out due to pressure.”
“In the end, it just makes you stronger,” he continued. “If you don’t succumb to that kind of pressure, you’ll always come out stronger: Your fans will love you more, your friends will love you more, and at the end of the day, you just get another notch on your gun belt.”
“At the end of the day, I was asked to perform the military part of the show at [Trump’s] inauguration. It’s a weaker stance if you back out. A lot of people did. I shouldn’t have to. This is our country.”
“We’re so divided,” he added. “If you allow that to happen, and you succumb to that pressure, then it divides us and keeps incapacitating us.”
Throughout his career, Keith has regularly traveled overseas to perform and entertain the United Service Organization.
“We saw such a void [when] we [first] visited with USO, and my whole group, my whole organization, saw that void was different than when Bob Hope did it,” he said. “Marilyn Monroe went, cheerleaders went, movie stars. And then it got where it was like, same thing when you go to the inauguration — you get hated on for going. You literally get hated for supporting the troops. It’s complete bullshit, that’s what it is.”
“There’s two or three things. They’re too lazy to do it, you’re afraid to go over there, or you don’t want to be connected with it. And one of those three things will knock somebody out. So we saw the void and just started raising the benchmark. We said, ‘We’re going to champion this thing.’ The memories, the geography lessons, the history lessons, the friends I’ve made, the families that have become part of my big family, that’s the reason you can look me in the eye and say, ‘I don’t have to apologize for supporting our troops.'”